Saturday, February 23, 2013
I remember in 7th grade that a TV movie named The Day After was being hyped to the rafters. I read all sorts of nuclear trivia in the newspaper and recall hearing for days on end how this movie was going to blow the mind of anyone who dared watch it. Considering how horrific the source material was, I was convinced I might not be able to withstand the brutality this movie was sure to put forth. I was sorely disappointed. For one thing, while the initial blast was awesome in its power, it sure seemed like there was a big cast of characters still doing a whole lot of talking and, well, being pretty boring after. I was still terrified of death by nuke, but in retrospect I was pretty damn lucky they weren't showing Threads on TV in America that year. I would have (at least figuratively) shit my damn pants.
To say this movie is bleak is like saying King Diamond wears face paint and can sing in high pitch. As a point of comparison, the novel The Road by Cormac McCarthy is more upbeat and certainly has a happier ending. It's like the Requiem for a Dream of nuclear brinkmanship.
It's pretty obvious that this movie was made for educational purposes. It's kind of dry and things don't really start getting horrifying until about 40 minutes in. However, when things DO start getting bad, it's pretty eerie. The sense of dread is strong when the warning sirens go off and you're basically waiting for the bombs to drop. There are a number of scenes that show things you really wouldn't expect to see in such a dignified production about such an important subject (especially when compared with the lame The Day After) - it's a pretty raw film. It ends up following a survivor through about 10 years of time and, again, it's far from pretty what ends up happening to her and the world in general. There's a lot of vomiting, bleeding, shitting, killing, and most of all dying.
Considering the saber-rattling going on right now in North Korea, Iran and Israel in reference to nuclear capabilities, this movie might not be outdated as it might seem. If Threads is even halfway accurate in its depiction of the aftermath of massive nuclear bombing, though, I can't imagine there'd be any solution (should things get to that point) preferable to being right in the epicenter of the blast and getting snuffed out nice and quick. Pleasant dreams.